Today is blog action day, the day I promised to write about something environmentally related. I thought about the many things in our society that we could do to improve our environment, but I kept coming back to the same thing. Conserving water.
This life-sustaining resource is simplistic. We keep it clean, we drink it, we use it in our daily lives. We don't even think about it...unless there isn't any. I grew up in the Valley of the Sun. To the uninitiated, that's Phoenix and it's surrounding communitities. Every year when I go back to visit, I see the commercials about conserving water. The advice seems so simple, yet someone is paying to drill it through everyone's head for a reason. Water is scarce in the desert, a most precious resource.
The commercials tell us simplistic things like not running a dishwasher that is half full, using lower water settings on the washing machine, not to run the water continually while you're brushing your teeth, and so on it goes. Each time I visit Phoenix, I am reminded of the reasons these habits are so ingrained in me. After all, I spent my entire childhood in Arizona watching these commercials. Okay, I didn't watch television all day, but I still saw plenty of commercials during my 18 years there.
Usually after a visit, I come home to Virginia and revel in the lush greenery and the fact that water is a resource that many take for granted. Watering lawns doesn't have to be monitored because it isn't necessary. My husband still laughs about the time I first came to visit his parents' home in Virginia and I asked why they didn't have a sprinkler system. When he stopped laughing at my question, he explained that they let the rain water the lawn. Only rarely did they have to do it themselves.
That rarity is here now, only we can't water our lawns. You see, my county is under mandatory water restrictions. That's right. Here in typically lush Virginia we have a drought. The reservoirs are dangerously low, rainfall is practically non-existent. The lawns are turning brown and outdoor plants are dying off. Restaurants can't serve water to their customers unless it's requested. Prayers for rain are increasing daily.
I've been without water before, truly without it. When living in Caracas, a water main break caused the city to cut off water supplies to four major sections of the city for five days. I know exactly how much water it takes to fill up a toilet, what it's like to crave a shower but have to settle for a washcloth and a cup full of water, what it's like to not be able to drink anything that didn't come from a carton or a can even though you can't stand the contents. Perhaps it was this experience that gives me the understanding that I can go without electricity for days, just don't make me go without water!
When circumstances (or nature) deals us this kind of blow, all we can hope for is that we're prepared for it. We need to keep a basic water supply. Two weeks is ideal, but at least three days worth if at all possible. After all, if a natural disaster hits, that's usually how long it takes for help to arrive. We have to do the basics as well, just keeping our water clean. We need to make sure that we don't litter, that we don't dump harmful waste into our sewer systems. As a community, we need to take care to protect this natural resource daily. After all, we never know when the day will come that water is the most important resource of all.
It is my hope and prayer that none of us are ever truly without water. I also hope that we will all live as though today might be that day. After all, we don't know what the future will hold, but we still have to prepare for it.